World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. Slips On Subscriber Data

World Wrestling Entertainment Inc.
fell sharply on Monday after the company offered disappointing data on first-quarter subscriber growth. The Stamford, Connecticut-based company changed hands recently at $14.11, down more than 14 percent. The shares are off by about 49 percent in the past year. Paid subscribers averaged 918,000 during the recent period, versus expectations for more than 1 million. The company also said that 201,000 people attracted last month to free trial subscriptions resulted in only 154,000 paid subscriptions. "There hasn't been a material gain in revenue for over seven years," Emmanuel Lemelson of Lemelson Capital Management told Benzinga on March 24. Lemelson issued a short call on World Wrestling about a year ago. Lemelson said more recently that he acquired shares at around $11 in May last year and sold them in February at around $16.50. Partly because of eroding margins, Lemelson said the company's earnings have been in a "pretty steep decline for five years." Lemelson said World Wrestling's board lacks independence and its dual-class share structure retains insider control. "That really sends a message to shareholders that look, we'd be happy to take your capital, but we don't really want you involved in the business in anyway," Lemelson said. World Wrestling also said Monday that its surpassed 1.3 million subscribers following its annual WrestleMania 31 event, making it the most viewed WrestleMania since the event launched in 1985.
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